Thinking outside the box
When we first started outreach, we gave out pretty, sparkly bags with a piece of make up, lighter, earrings and our card. We kept it simple until our confidence grew and relationships formed. As time passed we began to venture outside the box and add some pizazz into the plans.
Our visits have become the monthly highlight for most of our clubs. We realize that our simple acts of love translate volumes to the girls. They know we care about them because we consistently show up. They have seen us in the snow, rain and heat delivering something special each month. Their reactions are priceless and constantly motivate us to find ways to convey their value and worth.
Periodically, we decorate dressing rooms with words of affirmation and love. Truly, this is an inexpensive way that deeply encourages and inspires the girls. Decorating also affords us more time in the dressing rooms to converse with everyone. (See attached blog http://diningfordignity.org/paper-hearts-of-love/) Even the bouncers, managers and DJ’s wander through the dressing room and positively respond to the beautiful words displayed. Words have power! As they sit there smoking their cigarettes, wondering if they matter, these words are seeping into their souls. The psalmist declares, “Where can I flee from your presence? If I make my bed in hell, you are there!” So in the dark corner of the basement of a strip club where girls are in hiding, there are words of affirmation, love and acceptance declaring their true identity and value. More than any gift we have ever given, it’s the words of worth that linger and have the greatest impact.
For instance, two years ago, I typed out the words from the song “You are so beautiful” printed them out on pretty paper and included in each gift bag. Those words were from the heart of God for these precious ladies and we wanted them to know it! Girls were in tears, kissing my cheek, hugging me and telling me they had goose bumps. What a simple, inexpensive, but profound impact on the hearts of the girls. (http://diningfordignity.org/christmas-outreach-letter/)
On Thanksgiving we brought in a full feast for two of our clubs and they thank us to this day. It was a simple gesture letting them know they were not alone on this holiday where most people were home with their families.
On Christmas my church helped us pull off a large outreach. We gave out approximately 365 Christmas stockings filled with goodies, 100 dozen home baked cookies and small gift bags for the men. Some of the dancers wrote my pastor an email thanking him and the congregation for caring about them! One girl was in tears shaking her head saying, “I can’t believe that a church would love us.”
With the super bowl being held in NJ this past January, we were fully aware that sexual exploitation would increase, as would attendance in strip clubs across our state. We had the opportunity to offer a self-defense course with an international renowned trainer for free. We gave out 300 invitations, spoke with managers, DJ’s and dancers and asked them to join us. We provided lunch, door prizes, special grand prize and a fantastic self-defense course. More than that, we were showing the girls we cared for them and had their best interest.
Another special event for Emerge was hosting a baby shower in one of our clubs. We had found out a young house mom was pregnant months prior and we promised her a shower and a kick a** shower we had! Truly this night is a golden highlight for our ministry team.
Creativity does not need to be expensive. Matter of fact, because we visit so many girls each month, we can’t afford large dollar outreaches. We listen and hear the heart beat of the girls in the clubs and through building relationship we are able to determine fun ways to engage them.